Dogs can have healthy outcomes with plant-based diets, studies reveal


Research proves dogs maintain positive clinical, nutritional, and hematological health when fed commercial plant-based diet

nuzza11 /

nuzza11 /

Alternative and non-traditional diets have been a controversial topic in veterinary nutrition since every dog’s nutritional needs could be slightly different based on age, breed, medical conditions, size, etc. Raw diets and plant-based diets have been discussed thoroughly, but the research is still fairly new in both sectors. However, 3 studies examined how dogs respond to plant-based diets and both found positive outcomes.1-3

One study looked at 15 clinically healthy (researcher-determined) client-owned adult dogs living in households in Los Angeles County, California. Dogs in the study were either fed a meat-based diet as a baseline or a complete and well-balanced canine plant-based nutrition diet. Dogs were evaluated at 0, 6, and 12 months, with a complete blood count (CBC), blood chemistry, cardiac biomarkers, plasma amino acids, and serum vitamin concentrations.1

Researchers found that the dogs on the plant-based diet maintained healthy exams at each biomarker and suggests the security of feeding canines a fully plant-based diet.1

The second study considered genetic changes that may indicate an evolution in canines that now allows for this adaptation to a starch-rich diet. Researchers on this study compared domesticated canine genes to that of wolves to highlight differences in evolution and which genes specifically could contribute to key roles in starch digestion and fat metabolism. Results found that dogs have developed 10 genes that are different from wolves, allowing dogs to eat starch-rich plant foods and thrive on omnivorous diets.2

A third study surveyed owner perceptions of health and wellbeing of dogs and compared between those fed meat-based and plant-based diets. Key findings from this owner questionnaire revealed that dog owners reported no adverse health outcomes attributable to being fed a plant-based diet and there were fewer ocular or gastrointestinal and hepatic disorders in the dogs that were fed plant-based diets.3

"We've always known dogs do well on a complete and balanced plant-based diet," said Bob Goldstein, DVM, cofounder and head of veterinary product development at Earth Animal, in a news release. "Over the years, we have seen friends and family raise healthy, happy, energetic, plant-based dogs. Now, the research has substantiated the evidence."4

According to a news release, most plant proteins are hypoallergenic and have a better impact on the environment than meat-based diets. Raising animals for food makes a lot of greenhouse gases because it requires significant amounts of land and water use for production.4

Wisdom From the Seed by Earth Animal. (Photo courtesy of Earth Animal)

Wisdom From the Seed by Earth Animal. (Photo courtesy of Earth Animal)

"Pet parents can significantly reduce a dog's carbon pawprint and help combat climate change simply by incorporating plant-based food into their diet one or even two days a week. Pet parents can also play a positive role with regards to animal welfare for animals being raised for meat,” Goldstein added.4

Goldstein’s company Earth Animal offers a new air-dried, plant-based dog food, Wisdom From the Seed. The commercial diet’s formula includes lentil protein, quinoa, sunflower seed protein, alfalfa juice concentrate protein, and potato protein and has a 28% protein content, which exceeds the standards of the Association of American Feed Control Officials for complete and balanced nutrition.4


  1. Linde A, Lahiff M, Krantz A, Sharp N, Ng TT, Melgarejo T. Domestic dogs maintain positive clinical, nutritional, and hematological health outcomes when fed a commercial plant-based diet for a year. bioRxiv. 2023.
  2. Axelsson, E., Ratnakumar, A., Arendt, ML. et al. The genomic signature of dog domestication reveals adaptation to a starch-rich diet. Nature. 2013;495, 360–364.
  3. Dodd S, Khosa D, Dewey C, Verbrugghe A. Owner perception of health of North American dogs fed meat- or plant-based diets. Research in Veterinary Science. 2022;149:36-46.
  4. Dogs have been evolving alongside humans for so long, they can now thrive on plant-based diets, studies show. News release. Earth Animal. March 19, 2024. Accessed April 4, 2024.,%2C%20experts%20say%2C%20is%20genetics.
Related Videos
© 2024 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.